The Oakland Raiders are hoping that Jon Gruden can bring the team back to Super Bowl contention and are paying him a reported $100 million over 10 years to do so.
The franchise, which will be moving to Las Vegas in 2020, made the announcement on Saturday after the ESPN analyst broadcast his last game of a nine-year career.
The organization will announce their new coach on Tuesday, but did post a tweet on Twitter that read, “Welcome back, Coach Gruden. Let’s get to work.” This is the second time the 54 year old will be at the helm of the franchise. He led them from 1998 to 2001 and compiled a 38-26 record.
He replaces Jack Del Rio who was 25-23 in three seasons and was fired Dec. 31 after the squad failed to make the playoffs.
What cost Del Rio his job was the 6-10 record when many believed the team would capture the AFC West. Sports books had them as a 20-1 pick to win the Super Bowl before the season began and thought they would follow up on the success of last year’s 12-4 season.
But the Raiders floundered losing its last four games and going 1-2-1 against the spread. They were no friend of gamblers, going 5-9-2 ATS on the season. They also managed to only hit the over five times.
The return of Derek Carr from a broken leg he suffered in the last game of the 2016 season was supposed to make the team a contender again, but his inconsistency and a struggling offense doomed Del Rio’s chances of returning.
An embarrassing 33-8 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 10 as well as losses to divisional rivals Kansas City and the Los Angeles Chargers in the last four weeks of the season were the final straw.
Second Time Around
Rumors of Gruden’s return began swirling three weeks ago, though he had been rumored for other jobs as well, including the University of Tennessee’s job. He played coy often in the broadcast booth.
When he was mentioned as a candidate for the New York Giants job his partner Sean McDonough said, “Our producer said he saw somewhere the odds of you going to the Giants are 35-1,” McDonough said. “Would you take the over or the under on 35-1?”
“I’ll take the under on that if Eli (Manning) comes back,” Gruden said.
He tried to downplay the Raiders job on his last televised gig but when it was brought up during Saturday’s Kansas City-Tennessee Wild Card Playoff game he said, “nothing is official yet.”
Now that it is he will be entrusted to lead a franchise he resurrected when he was a 34-year-old whiz kid whom owner Al Davis thought was the perfect fit. He did not disappoint leading the Silver and Black to its best record in a decade in 2000 and a trip to the AFC Championship, where they ultimately lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
Ironically he was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years later and defeated the Raiders in the 2003 Super Bowl.